The Thrifting Dilemma

At the Goodwill Outlet in Lacey, shoppers dig through large bins that are replaced with new items daily.

At the Goodwill Outlet in Lacey, shoppers dig through large bins that are replaced with new items daily.

Harper Gould, Journalist

More and more teenagers are abandoning the retail stores and headed to places like Goodwill and Value Village for their clothing fix. A thrift store has become less of a destination and more of an activity for young people and there are both positive and negative effects of this trend. 

Hattie Hummel-Church, senior at OHS, has been thrifting long before the trend even began. She shares that “now it’s not embarrassing for people who need to thrift to be able to thrift.” Sam Hacker, Junior at OHS, agrees that now “there’s a bigger culture that accepts it.” The stigma associated with shopping second-hand is being eliminated.

Hummel-Church recalls feeling embarrassed to tell other kids in elementary school about where she got her clothes from. “I would look at the tags on the back and just tell them I got it from the original place.” Today however, a cool cheap find at a thrift store is something worth bragging about.

 A con of this thrifting trend is that prices in thrift stores are going up. Hummel-Church shares that the prices going up “is not super great for the people that need to be at the thrift store.” A shirt at Goodwill that may have been priced at $4 five years ago might be closer to $10 today. Allegra Ingolia, running start student, agrees that it could be problematic for those who don’t have a choice whether they thrift or not and says, “I worry about what this will mean for people who actually need thrift stores and if costs will increase in the next couple years.” 

At the end of the day however, Hummel-Church believes that “thrifting is for everybody.” Low prices and the ability to express personal style that the thrift stores enable is something everybody can benefit from. 

The real issue Hummel-Church claims, is the people who go and purchase all of the vintage and name-brand clothing pieces and then re-sell. “If you’re getting it for yourself that’s fine, but if you’re going to immediately make a profit off of it I think that that’s unethical,” she says. Sellers on DEPOP and Poshmark go to thrift stores on a hunt for name-brand items worth more than what they are being sold for. 

The effects of thrifting on the environment are also important to note. Lucy Clarke, Junior at OHS, points out that, “it’s good thrifting has become so popular. Environmentally, thrifting prevents a lot of carbon emission.” Ingolia agrees that thrifting is, “often like a gateway to more sustainable living.” This positive effect has the potential to exponentially grow if people choose to continue the thrifting cycle past their purchase. Hummel-Church says the key is that “All of your old clothes should be going back to the thrift stores,” when it comes to people with the ability to shop at regular retail stores.